Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti's inability to get his team functioning properly is likely to cost the Italian his job with the European champions this summer, says Spanish football expert Guillem Balague...
When Real Madrid have everyone available, like Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos, physically on top of their games and on form, then they can beat anyone. Even if one of their three forward players is missing, and they have to play 4-4-2, which is what they did for most of their 22-game winning run. In fact, that is even better as it gives the team balance.
But it is quite clear that now they are not at their best physically and they have a problem in midfield in that they do not know what to do with the ball. And that is down to manager Ancelotti allowing the team to play with that physical power and pace, but not preparing them collectively to find different ways of attacking.
So it was all down to direct and counterattacking football and when Isco was fit they also played a controlled passing game, but it was not based on anything they had tried in training, mostly on individual quality.
However, now that Isco and Toni Kroos are struggling physically, Asier Illarramendi and Lucas Silva are lacking authority, as well as the injuries to James Rodriguez and Modric, then you get a Real that does not know how to play.
At half-time against Athletic Bilbao, Ancelotti told his players that if we continue playing like this, we will not win anything. But he obviously has to give more answers.
As a consequence, the Real hierarchy are now seriously considering parting company with Ancelotti in the summer and I will be very surprised if he is there next season.